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Are you watching free OTA digital TV
Old 06-08-2016, 10:19 AM   #1
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Are you watching free OTA digital TV

I was just curious how many actually take advantage of free OTA tv. I get the Salt Lake City TV signals and I am very happy with it. Now I do live in Utah but I live in the middle of the state and rely on translator signals. The signals are wonderful. It just so happens I have a lot of experience so was easily able to take advantage of the free signals. I realize that not everyone is as lucky. I just have rabbit ears that cost $10 . Is there anyone else out in the boonies that gets OTA TV signals via translators?
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:38 AM   #2
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Last weekend I set up my Dad in Lake County Florida with OTA TV so he could drop cable.

Sadly, no translators there. He's far enough from Orlando (the transmitters are on the OTHER side of Orlando from him) that he can only get one regular english language network affiliate.

He's pretty motivated to save some money so the one channel is enough for him - "I really just want to be able to watch the election returns this year." We'll see how long he lasts. He really doesn't watch much TV at home.
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:38 AM   #3
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Of course! My LBYM habit has meant that we have never had cable TV, a cable has never been run to our current house.
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:42 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mpeirce View Post
Last weekend I set up my Dad in Lake County Florida with OTA TV so he could drop cable.

Sadly, no translators there. He's far enough from Orlando (the transmitters are on the OTHER side of Orlando from him) that he can only get one regular english language network affiliate.

He's pretty motivated to save some money so the one channel is enough for him - "I really just want to be able to watch the election returns this year." We'll see how long he lasts. He really doesn't watch much TV at home.
Translators are needed in a lot of places throughout the country but they cost money and who is going to pay for it?
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:44 AM   #5
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Been watching free OTA digital TV for several years. Went through some trial and error finding the right antenna (from rabbit ear, to home built coat changer, to kickstarter antenna) and OTA DVR combination. Though there is some slight interference time to time (signals bouncing off nearby trains), overall, quite pleased and I get all the major networks.
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:47 AM   #6
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Been watching free OTA digital TV for several years. Went through some trial and error finding the right antenna (from rabbit ear, to home built coat changer, to kickstarter antenna) and OTA DVR combination. Though there is some slight interference time to time (signals bouncing off nearby trains), overall, quite pleased and I get all the major networks.
The big cities have so many stations nowadays with digital it is amazing. Best of all it is free.
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:05 AM   #7
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How does one find and use these translators?
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:17 AM   #8
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We use OTA, get about 25 channels, we use roof top antenna and it works marvellously.

We have been using it for the past 12 years, since we gave up cable, have not missed cable at all and enjoy the monthly savings not having cable.
Probably saved enough to pay for a trip to Europe.
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:20 AM   #9
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Yes, for over a decade. We don't watch OTA real time, unless it's a live event, but instead use a TabloTV for watching later.
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:45 AM   #10
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Go to rabbitears.com and put in where you live. There will be whatever stations that are available come up including translators. Look at where the signal is originating from by using the fcc query link at the bottom.
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:55 AM   #11
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We're looking in to cutting cable. The latest indignity from Cox is the requirement to add a digital box for every TV. Crappy little boxes with remotes you're forced to rent for $3/month each. More profit for Cox, more cost and clutter for us.
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:55 AM   #12
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Hmmm. Currently staying in friends house in Atlantic Beach FL; only has internet so we've been living on netflix etc. Tried rabbitears.com but it seems to be about storytelling! Anyway, found AntennaPoint.com and it says there are not digital transmitters within 60 miles of here. Huh? Downtown Jacksonville FL can't be more than 15-20 miles from here. Must be some kind of digital desert here.

Just went back to site and it shows transmitters within 6 miles of Jax, so it must just not recognize A Beach.
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:55 AM   #13
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I'm in New Orleans, so not out in the boonies. But I listen to free OTA television with a homemade antenna that is inside, out of sight just behind the TV. I get a bazillion channels (almost 4 dozen IIRC?), including all local network TV, PBS, and a few others that I like such as the Justice channel.

I don't pay a cent for television.

Although Frank installed his Netflix on my TV, I almost never listen to anything on Netflix. Same with Amazon Prime; I got that solely for the shipping, and they even sent me an inquiry about why I don't use it for TV. I just don't see anything I want to watch on Prime or Netflix. I like local news and programming, and singing competition shows like The Voice and I get those OTA.

When I cancelled my cable TV a few years ago, I cut my cable bill back by $110. However, cable internet has gone up since then and I still pay for that.
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:59 AM   #14
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Hmmm. Currently staying in friends house in Atlantic Beach FL; only has internet so we've been living on netflix etc. Tried rabbitears.com but it seems to be about storytelling! Anyway, found AntennaPoint.com and it says there are not digital transmitters within 60 miles of here. Huh? Downtown Jacksonville FL can't be more than 15-20 miles from here. Must be some kind of digital desert here.
My bad. Try rabbitears.info.
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Old 06-08-2016, 12:07 PM   #15
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Just went to rabbitears.info and it confirms what I thought, I know the antenna farm is just southeast of downtown Jax and the site says it's ~10 miles from here in Atlantic Beach. Last week I bought a cheapo antenna from Walmart but couldn't get diddly on it so returned it. It SAID it was good for 30 miles, but nothing. Admittedly where the TV is leaves the majority of the house between the TV and the antennas, and I have no experience with OTA digital (or for that matter analog for the last 30 years!).

What are these translators people speak of? Are the cheap things like I bought for $30 likely to work in a relatively close situation (10 miles) from within a house?
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Old 06-08-2016, 12:19 PM   #16
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We have never had cable tv. We are quite happy with OTA. Since the switch to digital we now receive about 20 stations. We do have an outside tv antenna It was here when we bought the house about 30 years ago...at our old house we just used rabbit ears.

Windstorms and critters had done some damage over the years so I hired a repairman to update the antenna. I figure that based on what friends and neighbors are paying the cable company I can afford 300 dollars every 30 years! We probably have saved a few thousand by not having cable. Actually, I told DH that I wanted the repair done while there were folks who knew how to do this work.

BTW, our tv is not digital so we still use a converter box. I keep waiting for our tv to die so that I can't replace it, but it is like the energizer bunny. I just can't bring myself to replace a tv that is working well


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Old 06-08-2016, 12:39 PM   #17
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Just went to rabbitears.info and it confirms what I thought, I know the antenna farm is just southeast of downtown Jax and the site says it's ~10 miles from here in Atlantic Beach. Last week I bought a cheapo antenna from Walmart but couldn't get diddly on it so returned it. It SAID it was good for 30 miles, but nothing. Admittedly where the TV is leaves the majority of the house between the TV and the antennas, and I have no experience with OTA digital (or for that matter analog for the last 30 years!).

What are these translators people speak of? Are the cheap things like I bought for $30 likely to work in a relatively close situation (10 miles) from within a house?
the translators are as I understand it, repeater stations, not something you would buy.

What you need is either roof top antenna (or put it in the attic so nobody sees it if you have homeowners assoc rules.

Next best thing would be to build an antenna with some wire coat hangers and a board - literally will cost you about $1.00
Instructions are on the internet.
You could start here: Home : DIY TV Antennas
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Old 06-08-2016, 12:42 PM   #18
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Fired Comcast 15 years ago when they hit my tipping point - $100 a month. Installed an antenna on the chimney and never looked back. I only watch public TV occasionally and of course, Judge Judy to expand my intellect .
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Old 06-08-2016, 01:22 PM   #19
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Just went to rabbitears.info and it confirms what I thought, I know the antenna farm is just southeast of downtown Jax and the site says it's ~10 miles from here in Atlantic Beach. Last week I bought a cheapo antenna from Walmart but couldn't get diddly on it so returned it. It SAID it was good for 30 miles, but nothing. Admittedly where the TV is leaves the majority of the house between the TV and the antennas, and I have no experience with OTA digital (or for that matter analog for the last 30 years!).

What are these translators people speak of? Are the cheap things like I bought for $30 likely to work in a relatively close situation (10 miles) from within a house?
A translator can take several different forms. One is the transmitting station is received from 60-80 miles out from usually atop a large mountaintop or hill from a city broadcasting signals. From there the signal is cleaned up and amplified and re-transmitted out to the desired target area. I would imagine microwave relay is a method that can be used. Of course it depends how far away you live from the translator signals that determines whether you will get a good signal or not. Generally you would need to be 20-30 miles from a translator if it is high powered. If not then you might be SOL.
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Old 06-08-2016, 03:27 PM   #20
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We dumped our dish a little more than a year ago, and go strictly with an OTA DVR and a Roku box with Netflix and Amazon Prime. Saves us nearly $100 a month.

I've found TVFool to be the most accurate and comprehensive signal analysis by far, at least among free browser-based sites. Both at our last house and this one, it seems like the predicted signal strengths are almost spot-on:

TV Fool

(No connection other than as a satisfied user.)
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